Can a contract be written providing the contractor with advanced payment to finance the planning and execution of a conference? The contractor would collect registration fees to cover their cost of the planning and execution and then reimburse the government's "seed" money after the collection of fees and end of conference .
It is assumed that your contract for planning and execution of a conference is a commercial item, so it is advised to follow FAR 32.201
, that "payment
for commercial items may be made under such terms and conditions as the head of the agency determines are appropriate or customary in the commercial marketplace and are in the best interest of the United States." FAR 32.202-1
has the policy and 32.202-2
denotes the types of commercial item financing (advance or interim payments). Since the question is from the VA, also see the VAAR 832.2, commercial item purchase financing, for additional guidance.
You must also be sure to follow the Joint Travel Regulations, 41 CFR Part 301-74 for conference planning as well. Here is a link, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/granule/CFR-1999-title41-vol4/CFR-1999-title41-vol4-part301-id445
may have some additional information as well.
Additionally, you can structure the contract by having actual established deliverables that the contractor can invoice against in planning and executing the conference. These would not be considered advanced or interim payments as the government is receiving a deliverable.